The Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitment to establish a Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) to streamline the delivery of up to $4 billion in concessional loans.
These loans will help secure economic growth, investment and resilience in rural and regional communities across Australia.
The RIC will administer the government’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans from 2018–19, as well as the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
It will be governed by an independent board and CEO with commercial experience to appropriately manage public money.
The government will introduce legislation this year to establish the RIC as a separate entity within the Agriculture portfolio. We will be engaging with the agricultural sector to discuss the new loan settings prior to the RIC opening its doors in 2018.
The Coalition Government is committed to providing practical support to help rural and regional communities reach their full potential for economic growth and agricultural productivity. That is why the Regional Investment Corporation was one of our key election commitments.
Australia’s $64 billion agricultural industries are not only the economic backbone of rural and regional communities; they also make a massive contribution to our national bottom line. It is vital that our farm businesses remain strong, resilient and profitable.
Through the RIC, the government will be making concessional loans available to farm businesses that are experiencing hardship but are keen to pursue opportunities to expand their business and boost their long-term profitability.
The RIC will help strengthen farm businesses by providing them with access to low-cost finance so they can build and maintain diversity in the markets they supply, and take advantage of new and emerging opportunities across Australia and overseas.
This government has made an unprecedented level of funding available for loans to support farm businesses, delivering more than $660 million in concessional loans to over 1200 farm businesses. But we want to ensure that they can access that support as quickly, easily and consistently as possible.
The RIC will allow us to deliver loans directly to farmers in need, with a streamlined and nationally consistent application process. It will also give us the flexibility to act swiftly to respond when hardships like drought or an industry crisis hit.
The RIC will also help fast-track the construction of dams and priority water infrastructure projects needed to stimulate investment, economic growth and increased agricultural productivity in rural and regional communities.
RIC water infrastructure loans will provide an incentive to states and territories to break ground on priority water infrastructure projects that will generate local jobs, create better opportunities for rural and regional communities, and help agricultural industries expand and increase in productivity.
For more information on the Regional Investment Corporation, visit agriculture.gov.au/ric.
Until the RIC is open for business, it is intended that farm businesses will be able to continue to apply for concessional loans through their state’s delivery agency. State and territory governments can continue to apply for water infrastructure loans through the department at agriculture.gov.au/waterloans.